Postpartum depression is very common. While it is quite common to have a case of the "baby blues" in the early days, related primarily to hormones (and lack of sleep!), if these "blues" last longer than 2 weeks, or start at or after 2 weeks, it is generally considered true postpartum depression. It can range from mild depression to full blown postpartum psychosis, which is thankfully not as common. When I worked in the birthing center, in postpartum, I occasionally ran accross a mom with the blues, but it was transient, came and went, and of course she would be discharged lightening fast.....but I always did a good teach. Doing OB in homecare, I saw a lot more PPD, because I'd care for women further out postpartum, usually. Because I am a long-time sufferer of depression, I can easily tell when someone else is feeling depression. It's almost an instinct sometimes. I do as much teaching as I can, even if I don't see signs. If I do, I do my best to get them the help they need without getting sucked in, which can be hard something. Our agency has a wonderful psych nurse who I often call in, and she is terrific for the short term, and for setting the pt up with outside services.
And Mario, the baby is not born depressed, since postpartum depression starts after the birth. Even for women who are depressed prior to birth (like me) don't pass the depression on at birth, although depression does tend to run in families, and someone who has major depression may likely have a child at higher risk for depression later in teir life. The only risk to the baby is if the mom becomes so depressed that she can't function, in which case she cannot adequately care for her child. This is esp a danger with a mom with no support, for example a single mom, or a mom who's husband works long hours and is not physiically present. The other danger is the mom with postpartum psychosis, which like I stated before, is more rare. These women, can get irresistable urges, or voices saying to hurt the baby, etc.
If you have had PPD with one pregnancy, while the next might be ok, there's also a strong chance that subsequent pregnancies will also lead to PPD, and prevention is the key. I always say to my new mom's not to be afraid to talk to their docs if they experience signs of depression, that it doesn't mean they are a bad mom, and that it happens to many, many women. Most of my patients will talk very freely to me about it.
This is subject I'm very passionate about, because despite having longterm major depressive episodes, both pregancy and postpartm (but esp postpartum) were very hard times for me. I thought I was the most hideous person in the world for feeling so horrid after having such perfect wonderful babies. I now know so much more, and whenever I can, try and pass that on. As nurses, I imagine you probably know all this, but I also have a tendency to ramble (as some of you may know!). But I have spent a lot of extra time with my at risk patients talking about this, so they don't feel as ashamed as I, and so many other women did/do.